My cheeks burned as I looked at the man.
‘Can’t I buy an aspirin?’ I asked, barely understanding what I had just been told. ‘Why not?’
“It’s for the safety of your baby,” he said, pointing to my baby bump. What? Did they think I was going to overdose on medication to hurt myself on purpose, or to hurt both of us?
I tried to explain that my maternity team had advised me to take aspirin, but again, I was told about the potential harm it could do to me and my baby.
Humiliated, I could feel my eyes burning with tears and so instead of staying and arguing my point, I ran to where my partner was waiting for me.
We went to the nearest Costa Coffee where I collapsed. He was so upset and embarrassed about the whole situation, but that quickly turned to anger.
You see, not only did I have the legal right to make my own decisions and buy what I wanted, pregnant or not, but I was actually buying the aspirin on medical advice.
our officer National Health Service The scan at 12 weeks was the first time our baby had been medically examined: it is usually the earliest point at which abnormalities are detected. In general, my health during pregnancy had been good, but I was nervous: you never knew what might be going on inside.
Although our scan went well, my partner and I were made aware of a small potential problem.
Our baby has a unique umbilical vessel. This means that there is only one blood vessel that travels from the baby to the placenta through the umbilical cord, instead of two. Many times, this is not a big problem, but it can increase the risk of restricted fetal growth.
At the time, our hospital wasn’t too concerned about the single umbilical vessel affecting our baby’s growth. But they were concerned that it might increase my risk of developing preeclampsia — a condition that can cause severe headaches, vision problems, and vomiting during the second half of pregnancy.
That was a pretty scary conversation.
Although most cases of preeclampsia are mild, it can cause serious complications for the pregnant woman and her baby if left unchecked.
That’s when I was recommended to start taking a low dose (150 mg) of aspirin per day until my 36th week of pregnancy. the pregnancy. Taking low levels of aspirin daily appears to regulate blood pressure and may help with the development of the placenta.
There is so much stigma around what pregnant women can and cannot do
I went to my nearest Boots store a few days later and bought 75 mg dispersible aspirin tablets without a prescription. They didn’t ask me about the possibility of being pregnant, just if I was taking any other medication, which I wasn’t.
That’s why I was even more surprised when I visited the same store again when I was 19 weeks pregnant and declined the sale. This time, when I ordered the medication, they asked me if it was for me. I answered honestly. Why not?
The man who attended me asked if I was pregnant. Once again, I said it was. That’s when they told me they couldn’t sell me the aspirin.
In fact, I couldn’t believe it, it was ridiculous and judgmental, I told my partner.
I am an adult, over the age of 18, and legally capable of making my own decisions.
When I calmed down, I filed a formal complaint against Boots. I got a call a few days later which was even more infuriating. When I argued my points, they quickly shut me down again, stating that their policy was for the well-being of my baby. When I mentioned that I could buy alcohol without legal restrictions, they told me that hopefully I wouldn’t do that.
Once again, this is so demeaning and dehumanizing. As a pregnant person, I still have every ounce of control over my body, my life, and my choices. I am not public property simply because I am raising a child.
There is so much stigma around what pregnant women can and cannot do. Drinking alcohol, taking prenatal vitamins, keeping a BMI below 30, these are all areas where pregnant bodies are constantly watched.
This is my first pregnancy and I am not an expert, so I am completely open to receiving advice from medical professionals for the benefit of my baby’s health. I believe there is a time and a place where medical advice takes precedence over my own personal wishes.
For example, I am planning to have my baby at home, with the support of my partner and midwives in the community. However, if my labor reaches a point where it jeopardizes my health or the health of my baby, then I will happily be transferred to the hospital if suggested.
But ultimately by choice country, I would expect better when it comes to aspirin. After this situation, my partner bought me aspirin in another store. A few weeks later, I was able to get a prescription from my doctor that allowed me to pick it up at my hospital.
Reproductive choice does not end with pregnancy or abortion: it is a long and winding road to allow people to make their own decisions.
That includes giving pregnant people the ability to make their own informed decisions about their pregnancies.
Do you have a story you would like to share? Get in touch by email jess.austin@news block.co.uk.
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